How to Add Copper Sulfate to Pools

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.

Things You'll Need

  • Swimming pool testing kit

  • Plastic bottle with spray head

  • Protective eye wear

  • Protective gloves


Only use copper sulfate at the beginning and end of the swimming pool season. It may take a few days for the algae and water to clear up, so don’t add more thinking that it didn’t work. Also, if you use too much copper sulfate, you could stain your swimming pool, so only use the recommended amount.


Beware of products that claim that copper sulfate will control microorganisms. Copper sulfate does not eliminate the need for chlorine, bromine, or other pool sanitizers.

Copper sulfate does not replace the need for pool sanitizers, such as chlorine.

Copper sulfate, otherwise known as bluestone, is sometimes used in swimming pools as an algaecide. The American Journal of Public Health recommends using copper sulfate in swimming pools only as a method to control growth of algae; therefore it should not be used as part of your regular pool chemical treatment. By properly assessing the swimming pool's alkalinity, you can add the appropriate amount of copper sulfate to a swimming pool to control algae growth.


Step 1

Test your pool water to determine the total alkalinity. Follow the manufacturer's directions closely when using the test kit to get accurate results. You need to know the total alkalinity to determine how much copper sulfate that you should put into the pool.

Step 2

Use the chart located on the University of Kentucky's website for bluestone (copper sulfate) to determine how much copper sulfate you should add to the pool, based on the total alkalinity of your pool water. For example, match your pool's alkalinity to the figures on the left side of the chart under the header "Total Alkalinity." Then, scan over to the number on the same row on the right side of the chart under the heading "Copper Sulfate Applied." This is the amount of copper sulfate you should add to your pool, based on the pool's total alkalinity. Do not add any copper sulfate to your pool if your alkalinity is below 50 ppm or above 200 ppm. If it falls somewhere in the middle of that range, use between 2 and 6 lbs. of copper sulfate, depending on the size of your swimming pool. Follow the manufacturer's directions for the specific brand of copper sulfate that you use.


Step 3

Put on protective gloves and eye wear.

Step 4

Mix the copper sulfate with enough water for the blue crystals to dissolve. Keep adding water until all of the crystals have dissolved. Some copper sulfate is sold in a jar to which you can add water. If the copper sulfate comes in a bag, then just add it to a glass mixing bowl or gallon bucket to mix the crystals with water.

Step 5

Pour the solution into a plastic spray and pump bottle, the kind that you would use to apply liquid fertilizer to a garden.

Step 6

Spray the solution into the swimming pool, completely and evenly covering the water with the copper sulfate solution.



Jessica Jewell

Jessica Jewell is a writer, photographer and communications consultant who began writing professionally in 2005. Her chapbook, "Slap Leather," is forthcoming from dancing girl press. Her recent work has appeared in "Nimrod," "Harpur Palate," "Copper Nickel," "Rhino," "wicked alice," "Poetry Midwest" and "Barn Owl Review." Jewell was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She earned her Master of Fine Arts from Kent State University.